Case Studies / National Year of Reading

Block was appointed by the 2012 National Year of Reading (WA) to raise awareness of illiteracy in Western Australia and provide hope to the many struggling with everyday reading and writing. The program is a State Library Foundation of WA initiative, steered by a group comprising representatives from the Department of Education, Rio Tinto, and Read Write Now.

With the number of Australians dealing with functional illiteracy at a staggering 46%, the need to raise awareness and provide resources was crucial.  It is a striking reality that so many Australians struggle to read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables or understand instructions on a medicine bottle; so the need to reach out to these people, along with raising awareness in the broader community needed to be done with the right medium and message. Several programs exist in Western Australia that provide free help to children and adults with literacy, numeracy and vital skills to get by in life.

Block saw an opportunity to utilise radio as the primary medium to reach those who struggle with reading and writing. Our first objective was to destigmatise such struggles and then provide hope and help. By researching countless stories of those who have overcome their illiteracy, we were able to pull together three stories that represented the survival mechanisms, struggles and successes of the many who make up the 46%. It was felt that by simply providing such stories – using amateur talent – that cut-through could be achieved on the radio and a genuine messaged conveyed.